Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
FCT Minister Nyesom Wike has expressed dissatisfaction with the N85 billion contract for the provision of infrastructure at Wasa Affordable Housing project.
He delivered the rebuke Monday when he and the Minister of State for FCT, Dr Mariya Mahmoud, and other top officials of the FCT Administration inspected the road site for the housing estate.
The minister’s outrage followed the explanation by the Acting Coordinator, Satellite Town Development Department, Olusegun Olusan, that the contract for the provision of infrastructure, which was awarded in 2014 to Gilmor Construction Company at N26 billion, was varied to N85 billion in 2018.
Olusan said the level of work done so far was 24.5 per cent, while N21 billion had been paid to the contractor leaving an outstanding payment of N64 billion.
He said government’s role in the housing scheme was to provide land and infrastructure, while private developers were to build two-bedroom houses and sell to the masses at the rate of N7 million.
But Wike expressed dissatisfaction with the arrangement made by FCTA and demanded to know why government should spend N85 billion to provide infrastructure and land without deriving any benefit from it.
“We are not impressed with the arrangement made by the FCT. Government cannot just cough out N85 billion in providing infrastructure and then give land out to private developers who will build and sell.
“This kind of arrangement is not commendable at all, at all. We think that the government must also participate, having provided the land and infrastructure.
“If we are partnering with private individuals or developers, the common sense is that you provide the land, provide infrastructure and they come and develop.
“Then government for example can take 10 per cent, then the developers take 90 per cent, depending on the value,” Wike said.
According to him, the government would then be able to determine the prices at which the houses would be sold, adding that the masses would not be able to afford N7 million for a house.
Earlier, Wike visited the ongoing road construction leading to the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Body of Benchers building.
He disclosed that the contractor was invited for a meeting Monday to work out ways to complete the road project.